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Expecting More Cases With Movement of Returnees, Curfew to Continue Till May 31: HP Govt

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Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government on May 17, 2020, officially announced the extension of the lockdown till May 31.

The announcement came after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India (GoI) issued an order, on May 18, under the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005, for extension of the lockdown till May 31, 2020. The State has decided the curfew would remain in effect as it is. 

The Government said as the number of COVID-19 cases has been continuously rising, the circumstances require restrictions through curfew.

The Government also attributed the cause of a surge in COVID-19 positive cases to the return of over 1.5 lakh people who were stranded in other States. Over 60, 000 more are have applied for passes and would be returning to the State in the upcoming days.

The Government has urged the people returning from other States to behave as responsible citizens and follow home-quarantine strictly for the sake of the people of the State.

Currently, the number of active cases in Himachal has risen to 80, out of which half of the cases have appeared within the last two weeks owing to State’s Government’s lackadaisical attitude towards taking sufficient measures and well-thought strategy for management of the mass movement of people into the State.

The tally of active cases is 32 as one of the patients in Kangra’s Jamanabad recovered and tested negative for COVID-19. The tally for COVID-19 deaths has also risen to three as two deaths were reported within the last two weeks. The Health Department statistics say that a total of 17417 persons have been tested in the State till May 17 and 21343 people were under surveillance.

On May 17, the State reported two more positive cases. Both cases were reported from Hamirpur district’s Naduan area.

In the first case, a 59-year-old, who had returned from Mumbai in a taxi with five others, tested positive. He hails from gram panchayat Kardi village.

The second person who tested positive belongs to Tayongli village. He had returned from Mumbai in a taxi as well which he shared with two others.  

Both cases were transferred to Bhota COVID hospital, an official of the Health Department confirmed. The Deputy Commissioner, Hamirpur, Harikesh Meena, has ordered sealing the areas from where the cases were reported.

The salient features of the new guidelines are as follows:

States to decide various Zones

Under the new guidelines, States and Union Territories (UTs) will now delineate Red, Green and Orange zones taking into consideration the parameters shared by the Health Ministry. The zones can be a district, or a municipal corporation/ municipality or even smaller administrative units such as sub-divisions, etc, as decided by States and UTs.

Within the red and orange zones, containment and buffer zones will be demarcated by the local authorities, after taking into consideration the Health Ministry guidelines. 

Within the containment zones, only essential activities shall be allowed. Strict perimeter control would be maintained, and no movement of persons would be allowed, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining the supply of essential goods and services.  Buffer zones are areas adjoining each containment zone, where new cases are more likely to appear.  In the buffer zones, more caution needs to be exercised.

Activities Prohibited throughout the Country

A limited number of activities will continue to remain prohibited throughout the country.  These include:

  • all domestic and international air travel of passengers, except for domestic medical services, domestic air ambulance and for security purposes or purposes as permitted by MHA;
  • metro rail services;
  • running of schools, colleges, educational and training/coaching institutions;
  • hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services, except for the running of canteens in bus depots, railway stations and airports;
  • places of large public gatherings such as cinemas, shopping malls, gymnasiums entertainment parks, etc.;
  • social, political, cultural and similar gatherings and other large congregations; and, access to religious places/places of worship for the public.  

However, online/ distance learning would be permitted and encouraged; and, restaurants will be allowed to operate kitchens for home delivery of food items.

Opening up of Sports Activities

Sports complexes and stadia will be permitted to open only for sports activities.  However, spectators will not be allowed in these complexes.

Activities permitted with restrictions

To facilitate the movement of persons, various modes of transport have already been opened up.  Movement of individuals by trains has been permitted earlier by MHA through an order dated 11.05.2020.   Further, evacuation of foreign nationals from India, the return of stranded Indian nationals from abroad, sign-on and sign-off of Indian seafarers, and intra-State and inter-State movement of stranded persons by bus and train, will continue to be allowed.

Inter-State movement of vehicles and buses has also been allowed with mutual consent of the concerned States/ UTs.  Intra-State movement of vehicles and buses can be decided by the States and UTs. 

National Directives for COVID-19 management

The guidelines specify the National Directives for COVID-19 management, which would apply to public places and workplaces. 

Under these guidelines, wearing of face covers is compulsory; spitting will be punishable with fine as may be prescribed in accordance with its laws, rules or regulations by the State/ UT local authority; and social distancing is to be followed by all persons in public places and during transport.  Marriage-related gathering should not have more than 50 guests.  For funerals/ last rites, the maximum number of persons allowed has been kept at 20.  Consumption of liquor, paan, gutkha and tobacco etc., is not allowed in public places. 

The National Directives also stipulate additional requirements for workplaces.  The practice of work from home (WfH) should be followed to the extent possible, and staggering of work hours should be adopted in respect of all offices and other establishments.  There should be provision for thermal scanning, hand wash and sanitizers at all entry and exit points and common areas; and all workplaces and other sensitive locations are to be sanitized regularly.  In workplaces, social distancing would also need to be ensured through adequate distance between workers, adequate gaps between shifts, staggering the lunch break of staff and so on. 

Stipulations regarding Shops and Markets

Local authorities should ensure that shops and markets open with staggered timings, to ensure social distancing.   All shops should also have to ensure six feet distance (2 gaz ki doori) among customers and also not allow more than 5 persons at one time.

Night Curfew

Night Curfew will continue to remain in force on the movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities, between 7 pm and 7 am.

Protection for Vulnerable Persons

Vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, should stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

All activities to be Permitted other than the limited number of those that are prohibited or restricted

All other activities will be permitted except those which are specifically prohibited under these guidelines. However, in containment zones, only essential activities would be allowed, as mentioned earlier.

States to decide on activities within various Zones

States/ UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain other activities in the various zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary.

Use of Aarogya Setu

Employers on best effort basis should ensure that Aarogya Setu mobile application is installed by all employees having compatible mobile phones. 

District authorities have been asked to advise individuals to install the Aarogya Setu application on compatible mobile phones and regularly update their health status on the app. State/ UT Governments have been asked continue to strictly enforce the lockdown guidelines and they shall not dilute these guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in any manner.

 

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4,145 New Covid Cases, 56 Deaths in 24-Hours; HP Govt Forms Paediatric Task Force to Tackle Third Wave

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Shimla-The death toll in Himachal Pradesh climbed to 2,241 on Saturday after 56 Covid patients lost their lives in the last 24-hours. Meanwhile, 4,145 new cases of infection were reported on Saturday, taking the total number of cases in the state to 1,57,862 according to official data released by the state.

Kangra district reported the highest casualties with 19 deaths, while in Shimla, 15 patients died of severe symptoms of coronavirus. 13 patients who lost their lives were below the age of 50.

Daily Covid testing on Saturday reached 15,461, out of which test results of 1,876 samples remain awaited.  According to the state health department, 17,12,566 people have received their first dose of vaccine till Saturday, while 4,34,307 people across the state have received both doses of Covid vaccine.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Cases for May 15, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

daily cases in himachal

As the rate of new cases and fatality remains high, the corona curfew in Himachal Pradesh has been extended till May 26 after a meeting of the state government cabinet was held on Saturday. The state also announced some rules and provisions to curb the spread of infection in the state. Medical Colleges, Zonal and Regional Hospitals, and hospitals with a bed capacity of 200 and above were allowed to hire vans to carry dead bodies. Weddings in the state are now only to take place in residences or courts, with a maximum gathering of 20 people.

The state government also held a high-level meeting on Saturday to constitute a Paediatric Task Force to tackle the anticipated third wave. According to reports, the third wave will most likely affect children and teenagers. Earlier this month, the principal scientific adviser to the central government, K VijayRaghavan, had said at a briefing that the high levels of the virus meant “a phase 3 is inevitable.”

The Paediatric Task Force would study the availability of medical infrastructure in various Pediatric Intensive Care Units, Neonatal Intensive Care Units, Sick Newborn Care Units, and Newborn Stabilization Units, to formulate plans for augmentation of machinery, equipment, and Human Resources.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Deaths for May 15, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

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HP Cabinet Decisions: Curfew in Himachal Extended, Free Wood for Cremation, Marriages Allowed Only in Homes or Courts

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Shimla-Corona Curfew in Himachal Pradesh has been extended further till May 26 as the state has witnessed no respite in a surge in daily Covid-19. The decision was taken after a meeting of the HP Government Cabinet today.

To check the exodus of labourers and workers all the shops dealing with construction materials would also remain open on Tuesday and Friday a week for three hours.

The Cabinet also decided to allow hiring dead body vans to all the Medical Colleges and Zonal and Regional Hospitals and hospitals with a bed capacity of 200 and above.  The forest department would provide free wood for the cremation of corona deceased where forest rights are enforced. The forest corporation would provide fuelwood in other areas. All the MCs would be allowed to hire dead body vans.

The Cabinet also decided that no marriages would be allowed to hire marriage palaces, community halls and tent houses and outside catering and DJ/Band. Marriage would be only held in houses or Courts with the restriction of 20 persons. There will also be no procession of Barat.

The Cabinet gave its consent to fill up 219 posts of different categories on a contract basis under the National Health Mission in the State to provide better health care facilities to the people.

The Cabinet also gave its nod to procure CT Scan 128 slice and MRI 1.5 Tesla Machines worth Rs. 20 crore in Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru Government Medical College, Chamba to facilitate the people.

It accorded its approval its ex-post-facto permission to the executing agency of Makeshift Covid-19 Hospital at Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Government Medical College, Ner Chowk Mandi to include construction of one labour room and one operation theatre etc. to facilitate the people.

It also decided to open Health Sub Centre at Sartyaula in Mandi district alongwith creation of requisite posts to man the Sub Centre.

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Himachal’s Distressed Tourism Industry Stakeholders Write to CM Jairam Thakur, Seeks Financial Package

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Himachal Pradesh Hoteliers Association to hp govt

Shimla-Tourism Industry Stake Holders Association on Friday wrote a letter to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur seeking financial aid from the state government to save the industry amid COVID-19 resurgence. They also highlighted the shared plight of hotels and restaurants falling in debt and failing to provide for the expenses.

“Since the beginning of last year, hotel industry continues to take hits due to the coronavirus. A seven-to-eight-month long lockdown in the entire country affected industry stakeholders. Tourism industry appeared to have revived in the month of October and expectations were high for the next tourist season” the association said.

Several hoteliers and restaurants had spent on maintenance hoping for a good season this year. But since most of the states have now imposed lockdowns, all hopes were dashed to the ground and the industry is facing a huge financial crisis.

The tourism units are not able to pay the interest and EMI of loans raised by them due to loss faced by the industry for the consecutive second year. The stakeholders fearthat  the loan raised by them may slip to NPA

The Association said that hoteliers and businessmen involved in the hospitality industry did not receive any relief from the government and managed their units/services by spending from savings or by raising loans.

The units have somehow managed to pay salaries and other expenses for the April month, the association said, but expressed inability to do so for the May month as the working capital has dropped to zero.

Mohinder Seth, President, Tourism Industry Stake Holders Association, has written to the Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India and Governor, RBI, requesting for the deferment of loans and to save the loans from becoming NPA.

Seth has also requested the central government to provide Himachal Pradesh’s tourism industry with a financial package to deal with the devastation caused by the second wave of COVID-19.

“We support the measures taken by the government to break the chain of coronavirus. If the government plans on extending the lockdown to seventeen more days, we will support the decision because we understand the need to save people’s life is important. Similarly, it is important to save the industry – source of employment to lakhs of people. We request honorable CM to extend financial aid to the industry stakeholders,” Mohinder Seth concluded.

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